Back from dead: Dale Shearer considers footy comeback

FORMER Queensland great Dale Shearer is considering a shock comeback to the footy field three years after being given up for dead.

The 47-year-old was millimetres from dying in February 2009 when he was involved in a high speed car accident at Peregian Springs which detatched his head from his spine.

Shearer was told he would never walk again after he suffered internal injuries, a fractured back and his skull was ripped from his vertebrae.

Since the accident the 26 Origin and 20 Test veteran has stunned doctors to get back on his feet so quickly and was now considering a return through the Sunshine Coast Gympie local competition.

He was tossing up several avenues through which to make his comeback, including the Noosa Pirates and Coolum Colts.

He told The Daily he had hoped to play for the Noosa Pirates in the Caloundra RSL Cup first grade competition alongside his son Jesse, who was considering turning out for the Noel Goldthorpe-coached team.

However after training with the Pirates this week he said he was more likely to pull on a pair of boots for Coolum, which plays in the Red Rooster Cup local C-grade competition.

He played his first Oz Tag match this week, his first game of competitive sport since the accident.

He was also considering taking up refereeing, influenced by his son Jakson correct who is a rising star of the Queensland whistle-blowing ranks.

Any comeback would be dependent upon Shearer receiving medical clearance and while he was doubtful of getting the tick of approval from doctors, he said he had faith his neck could stand up to the rigours of contact rugby league.

Dale Shearer with his two sons, Jesse 14 and Jakson 12.
Dale Shearer with his two sons, Jesse 14 and Jakson 12. Cade Mooney

He said his only concern was his lateral vision which was impacting his ability to catch and pass.

"My wife is up there watching over me," Shearer said, a reference to his wife Delyse who died of cancer in 2008.

"I think she said 'you better stay down there and look after the boys'.

"I wasn't in a good way after the accident.

"A lot of doctors can't believe I'm still here. But I am. I've done a lot of work to get to this point.

"The only thing is my vision, I saw a specialist and he said I can't do anything about it. He said I should go see a specialist down in Sydney, but I'd probably be wasting my time."

Shearer was in intensive care for a month after the crash, a fraction of the expected 12-18 month stay.

He began rehabilitation two weeks into his hospital stay, without the knowledge of doctors.

Shearer said he would hijack a wheelchair and sneak into the physiotherapy unit where he began his road to recovery. 

He began getting back into shape anyway he could - from doing laps in a wheelchair to push ups on handrails.

He then completed a one-month stay at Eden Rehabilitation Centre at Cooroy, originally intended to be a three-month stint.

FLASHBACK: Kerrod Walter and Dale Shearer having a chat at a Sunshine Coast Falcons training session in 2006.
FLASHBACK: Kerrod Walter and Dale Shearer having a chat at a Sunshine Coast Falcons training session in 2006. CadeMooney/cm158793a

Shearer said he sorely missed rugby league even though he risked permanent paralysis and blindness.

"I tore my head off my vertebrae, no one was ever survived it," he said.

"It came right off but somehow it still had structure, it just wasn't sitting where it should be. At first the doctors weren't confident of doing an operation, they thought it was too serious and I was going to die anyway. But time just ticked by.

"A month after I'd been in hospital, I went to sit up and I heard a 'clunk' and I realised I left my head behind.

"I thought I was paralysed. I realised what had happened and I was having trouble seeing. Eventually it jumped back to where it should be. I couldn't believe it."